ALAMEDA, Calif. (KRON) – A vigil was held Tuesday in remembrance of 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez, who died exactly one year ago while he was in Alameda Police custody. The vigil comes nearly two weeks after the District Attorney declined to charge the officers involved in Gonzalez’s death.
“We know that what happened wasn’t right and we’re just here to keep my brother’s spirit alive and remember him,” Gonzalez’s brother, Jerry, said.
Jerry and Gonzalez’s mother Edith Arenales are still struggling with the fact that the DA determined there would be no charges against the officers involved in Gonzalez’s death.
“People working with uniforms, they don’t have the preparation to care of the calls, the phone calls,” Arenales said.
Body camera footage showed the moments leading up to his death that day, as he was being pinned to the ground face-down for several minutes. However, authorities said Gonzalez’s condition of morbid obesity and alcoholism contributed to his death, which was ruled as a homicide.
Officers said they responded after receiving 911 calls that said Gonzalez appeared disoriented.
Groups like Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice came to Tuesday’s vigil to support the Gonzalez family and to denounce the DA’s decision not to charge the officers involved.
“We’re feeling a little broken. We’re feeling a little hopeless and I think we’re just trying to grapple with those feelings and figure out collectively a solution so we don’t have this happen to any other families,” George Galvis, executive director of CURYJ, said.